A lot of readers - as much as they may love the books - are bothered by some of the pairings (think Marianne and Brandon, or Fanny and Edmund); are there any Austen couples you think are going to have a rocky road ahead of them?Laurel Ann: I am worried about several of Jane Austen’s characters:
Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney: What will happen after their wedding in Northanger Abbey? She is so young and he so witty, will he get bored? Will Catherine mature into a young lady with her own opinions? Will Henry’s eye wander for more sophisticated conversation until she does? Will he get tired of her lack of worldly knowledge and of teaching her about everything? Will his parishioners eat her alive? Oh dear. Margaret Sullivan gave us a glimpse of their life together in There Must Be Murder, but so many “what if’s” can still arise, that I am dying for someone to write a full on sequel to Northanger Abbey. And, what about Isabella Thorpe? Her fate, based on her wild personality could be quite dire. I imagine her being used by a succession of wealthy rakes and ending up in the profession. Oh my!
Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley: This couple from Emma are in for a rough ride. They are both such strong characters: she so spoiled and resolute in her opinion of what should be, and he also resolute in his own, that there are bound to be heated conflicts in the Knightley household. I imagine great make up sex though, which of course Jane Austen would never even allude to, but modern writers continuing their story could have fun with in a behind closed doors way without giving us the details.
Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars: I mostly worry about him. Being honorable to the point of self-destruction can have its draw backs, as we witnessed in Sense and Sensibility. Elinor is so stoic and Edward so compliant, that I fear that no decisions in the Ferrars household will ever come to fruition. She would say nothing. He would do nothing. Let’s hope that with maturity, they both see that dysfunctional codependent behavior brings nothing but frustration and misery.
To flip your question Misty, here are a few Austen couples whose relations I feel will succeed.
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy: They have both gone through such a humbling transformation to earn each other’s love during the course of Pride and Prejudice that I feel their marriage begins on solid and equal footing. His money and her sharp wit will win any opposition they may meet in society regarding her family rank. It is a one, two punch for success.
Harriet Smith and Robert Martin: Readers often discredit Harriet Smith as a ditzy blonde and Robert Martin as a yeoman farmer in Emma, but he is educated and knows his heart, and she, though influenced by the charms of society, also knew what she wanted from the start, realized her mistake and went back to Robert and reconnected. They may have a simple and uneventful life, but odds on they will be happy.
Lucy Steele and Robert Ferrars: Oh, I heard you all gasp in disbelief across the Internet! Yes, the two nasty pieces of work from Sense and Sensibility will be happy in their married life. She is so sly and clever that he will never know he is being coned, and he is so rich and distracted with clothing and social appearances that he will never know that she has squirreled away his fortune before she poisons him so she can run away to America with the hunky groom.
All of these fears and suppositions feed into my addiction to Austen para-literature. We must continue talking and reading about what Jane Austen characters do after the wedding. Thank goodness so many authors feel the same way and continue to write prequels, sequels and short stories about my favorite author’s creations.
What say you? Do you agree or disagree with my choices?
A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com and the new short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It released by Ballantine Books in October 2011. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington where it rains a lot. Visit Laurel Ann at her blog Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.
Giveaway chance for Jane Austen Made Me Do It
Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress by leaving a comment agreeing or disagreeing with any of the future character relationships mentioned in this blog post by 11:59 pm, September 5th, 2012. Winner to be announced here at The Book Rat. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck!
© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, The Book Rat